This world is weird these days, to say the least. For me, it’s been triggering, confusing, and most definitely overwhelming. And each of us has our own list of reasons why, which is important to remember as we navigate our uncertain future – together.
I was recently reminded how the act of judgment can be as detrimental as the act that caused the judgment in the first place.
As a mother, we pride ourselves on being the best version of ourselves, every single day – all for the health and well-being of our children. We wake up and put on our circus uniform so that we can be the best ringleader anyone ever saw – 24/7. But the truth is, that’s impossible. We all have moments where the world feels too heavy, and we don’t perform to the best of our capabilities – despite our very best efforts. All while processing the many things continuously happening around us.
Life is realistically more of an ebb and flow instead of a constant forward direction of perfection. We are so busy being the cheerleaders that our children need, that we don’t always stop to acknowledge that we too need cheerleaders.
While dealing with my own instance of judgment (let’s be honest, it happens to all of us…) one of the dads in my inner circle stopped to tell me that he thought I was doing a really good job, despite all the odds of life these days. This small act of kindness meant so much to me. That five seconds of conversation gave me an incredibly deep breath, which is something that I had not felt in quite some time.
It made me stop and think about how we don’t always say the right thing, wear the right thing, or do the right thing and we all know this – so why do we still so easily judge one another, especially when someone does something against the social grain?
When I started questioning it, and my feelings around it, I found an article that I felt was rather enlightening and wanted to share. It was written by Dana Harron Psy.D. titled “Why Do We Judge Other People?” It sums this topic up quite nicely.
In a nutshell, Harron points out that it isn’t about the person being judged at all but how we feel about ourselves, and how much unconditional love we have received or haven’t received, for that matter.
She argues that: “judgementalism is about safety. If you are the ‘better person’ in a given scenario, you don’t have to worry that you might be the ‘worse’ one. You don’t have to reckon with potential feelings of inferiority, shame, and generally not being good enough.
Because judgmentalism destroys relationships. If you are better than someone, you are apart from them. You are above them, not beside them — and so nobody is beside you.”
Personally, I think that real strength is about being a part of rather than being apart from other people – no matter what they do or say. It’s important to recognize that we are all different, make the same mistakes just in different ways for the most part, and can offer such valuable words or acts of kindness to one another to help get us all through it – together.
Harron acknowledges that “it’s about knowing who you are, what you value, and how you want to live that truth. It’s about knowing that you can afford to be generous because you are enough and there is enough to go around. Extending yourself (*and others*) some kindness does not diminish you; instead, it makes the world that you exist in a better place to be.”
She concludes this thought by saying that if “we bake a bigger pie; we all win.” I for one can almost taste it.
The judgment that I am specifically talking about was the judgment that I was putting on myself.
It was a moment where I recognized that I had failed my child in a very big way. I already know that I am his biggest fan and his biggest cheerleader, and I also know that I am not perfect but that doesn’t change how truly terrible it feels when I mess up.
I try to use uncomfortable moments in life as a growth opportunity, which is something that I must work very hard on not only with myself but also with my son as a single parent, specifically, in our Growth Mindset exercises.
In this rapidly changing environment that we are all facing, I think it’s important for us to dig deep into some core values and challenge ourselves to reflect on ways that we judge others and ourselves and actively replace that judgment with some type of kindness like my dad friend did – albeit big or small. It all matters. It does and it can make the biggest difference in our perspective and choices in how we navigate an uncertain world.
Harron ends her article with a powerful message “When we practice kindness for others, we also find more space to extend it to ourselves.”
In case anyone reading this needs a cheerleader, I am here for you. And you are enough for me. We are all in this together. We are. We must be, especially while navigating this very weird world right now, together.
From one mom to another … these values are ones that I am making sure to teach at home while acknowledging that I too need to give myself more grace…
Harron’s full article can be read HERE.
(*being apart from* & *and others*) Substituted and/or inserted language from the original quote.